Works by Robert Beaser, Aaron Jay Kernis, Stephen Paulus, Simon Sargon, John Schlenck, Judith Shatin, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
New York Concert Singers, Judith Clurman
American composers are noted for their curiosity about the world and distant cultures, and this is never more true than when they seek inspiration for music of a spiritual nature. Each of the seven composers on this recording has a distinct style of his or her own, and yet one can hear, in these meditative yet impassioned choral works, the life of faraway places shaping their music.
Among the program's highlights are Simon Sargon's prayerful and rapt setting of Eil Nora Alilah, the prayer that introduces the closing service of Yom Kippur; Robert Beaser's alternately exultant and tender setting of Psalm 150; Stephen Paulus's delicately shaded Meditations of Li Po (based on poems by the great Chinese poet); Judith Shatin's aching expression of loss, Adonai Roi; and John Schlenck's ecstatic Three Vedantic Hymns, based on hymns from the Bhagavad Gita. Also included on this well-conceived program are Beaser's Psalm 119, Aaron Jay Kernis's lush Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord, and two works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Thanksgiving Song, and A Simple Magnificat.
The New York Concert Singers, under Judith Clurman's sensitive direction, deliver polished and passionate performances attuned to the unique spirit of each of the works. This excellent collection of fresh, original and engaging works will appeal to all lovers of choral music.